Participatory Inquiry, episode 33: Translations

“In transition, we found new translations, we found
our way back home — and it was good.”


Our future societies turned out to be all about all the children who survived and thrived. Once there was a critical mass of people understanding this, really understanding it — things changed.

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming 
ownership of that freed self was another.”

 — Toni Morrison

People were suddenly finding spaces 
where they were heard and listened to.

“Who else has to justify 
loving themselves like this?
who else has to fight for the right 
to call themselves a blessing?
Goodness, can’t I just be a black woman 
that loves herself in peace?”

 — Upile Chisala

These new spaces gave birth to a whole new type of open participatory inquiry, one where curiosity, agency and inclusivity came together in new ways, out of which places were rekindled, neighborhoods were rebuilt and people found themselves working together, rediscovering new forms of work, organizing and governance in the process.

“I will say:
Most men are afraid of me, you know?
Or, I will say:
In my culture we do not take 
our men’s names as our own.”

 — Safia Elhillo

There was truth and reconciliation meetings 
emerging everywhere on the planet.

“You have nothing for me
I have my own name
I know now how this body works
How it will never let a name go until
it has taken it into the mouth
and fed it to the breath
I still know by heart”

 — Safia Elhillo

Some of these meetings eventually included optional healing circles, where old white males and other people having been seduced by the old ways, stepped forward, sat down in the middle of the circle and accepted being brought back to human, to wholeness.

“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do 
language. That may be the measure of our lives.”

 — Toni Morrison

Yes, there were lots of mistakes made in our eagerness to return to better ways. Sadly, some of the one thousand oligarchs were too far gone to be rescued. But all in all, there were 8bn humans, and for a short number of years, our moment of transition, we were all shining,

“You can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave then let him leave
you are terrifying and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.”
 — Warsan Shire

like you otherwise only read in stories. But this, this our story, 
though almost otherworldly jubilant, was ours — and it was real.

“That someday, delivered at last
from this terrifying vision,
I might sing out in praise and
jubilation unto approving angels;
that no single tone shall fail
to sound due to a slack,
a doubtful or a broken string
when clearly struck by
the hammer of my heart.”

 — Rainer Maria Rilke

Tell your children what we did, the bad and the good, that they will be able to tell their children, and their childrens children, seven generations to come.

“I watch for the fold under her eye to twitch.
I have many dreams, I say to her.
In my dreams I am better than myself.”

 — Ladan Osman

We were good, we were bad and we were lost — and we found ourselves again, and we found our way back home — and it was good.

Participatory Inquiry, episode 33: Translations

Madi Robson